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Journal Article

Children's First Names: An Empirical Study of Social Taste

Stanley Lieberson and Eleanor O. Bell
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 98, No. 3 (Nov., 1992), pp. 511-554
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781457
Page Count: 44
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Children's First Names: An Empirical Study of Social Taste
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Abstract

Data on births in New York State between 1973 and 1985 are used to analy gender differences in naming patterns. In a relatively rigorous way, the authors infer how seemingly idiosyncratic expressions of tastes in names are in general affected by underlying cultural themes. For example, the results suggest that long-standing stereotyped role assignments still have a subtle but major effect on the naming process. Two major parental characteristics-education and race-modify these general patterns. In turn, taste differences in subpopulations reveal their general esthetics dispositions. The authors present these results as the first large-scale systematic comparison of educational differences in naming patterns in the United States.

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